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The Advanced Coal and Energy Research Facility
An experimental oxy-coal combustion lab at Washington University in St. Louis, burns coal with pure oxygen raising the carbon dioxide concentration in exhaust gasses from 15 percent to 95 percent. The carbon dioxide is then easier to capture and sequester underground, or it can be fed into a photobioreactor to fuel algae growth. The algae could then be a possible source of biofuel. Richard L. Axelbaum, PhD, Director of the Consortium for Clean Coal Utilization, describes the process.
WUSTL's Living Learning Center named a "Living Building"
The Living Learning Center, located at WUSTL's Tyson Research Center, achieved full certification as a living building, a ranking conferred by the International Living Building Institute. The center shares the honor of being the first living building with the Omega Center in Rhinebeck N.Y. A living building must be designed to produce no wastewater and use no more energy than it produces. It must then operate within those constraints for the period of at least one year.
Summer program provides research immersion
The Biomedical Research Apprenticeship Program (BioMedRAP) at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis offers undergraduates a 10-week summer research internship to prepare them for biomedical research careers. The program targets students from rural or inner-city areas, first generation college students and those from groups traditionally underrepresented in biomedical research.
Students from around the St. Louis area participate in the free two-week camp that emphasizes careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). As a highlight, former NASA astronaut and camp namesake Bernard A. Harris Jr., MD, spent a morning with the middle schoolers, answering their questions and encouraging them to pursue a future in STEM.
Studying ion channels in frog eggs
Scientists in Jianmin Cui's lab at Washington University in St. Louis study ion channels important in heart contraction and neural activity. Many experiments involve mutating the DNA that codes for the channel protein and then using frog eggs as miniature factories to produce mutated channels whose functioning is then examined by the voltage clamp technique. Research is showing that many medical disorders may be caused by malfunctioning ion channels. More than 300 mutations, for example, have been found in a cardiac channel, some of which are associated with arrhythmias.
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